Have you ever had to memorize so much information for nursing school and simply felt like it was impossible? If so, this is the blog post for you. In an attempt find ways to study better, research led me to Picmonic.
What is Picmonic?
Picmonic is an audiovisual learning system. The program uses stories, characters, and cartoon graphics to assist you in remembering everything that you need to know for school.
Why use Picmonic?
It is research proven to help students pass exams.
It is efficient and effective. This system helps you save time by enabling you to memorize details quickly all while keeping you entertained.
It is easy to use on the go. Just download the app to your phone or desktop and you are ready to go.
It is customizable to your personal needs and current topics you are reviewing in class.
It is always up to date with the newest concepts and videos relevant to your studies.
It uses related facts made easy.
It is inexpensive.
What is more, it is free to sign up. With the free option you are able to learn and do a quiz on 1 Picmonic video per day. Use this link to try it out for yourself today!
This quarter of nursing school, I had to take my first ATI assessment. I was a little familiar with the product because I needed to take the ATI Teas when I was applying to school. As a student nurse blogger, I like to be transparent with my audience to ensure they too know all about the many woes of nursing school. So what is ATI????
According to ATI:
ATI’s Comprehensive Assessment and Review Program (CARP) is a focused remediation resource that is with you and your students throughout the nursing program. This comprehensive learning solution goes beyond NCLEX preparation by offering unique and proprietary remediation on each test, whether it’s practice or proctored. It does what no other test prep can do – it ties directly back to the NCLEX®. To address diverse learning styles, this program offers multiple remediation tools, including traditional and online reading materials, videos, practice assessments and Internet sources.
The thought is the results will yield increased pass rates and student attrition rates are decreased. The program offers 8 specific targeted areas to test you on. Each subject area comes with study materials attached such as eBook or physical book. This is to assist you on major concepts that you must conquer to ensure successful mastery on assessment test. The targeted areas are below.
Targeted Subject Areas:
RN Adult Medical Surgical Nursing
RN Community Health Nursing
Fundamentals for Nursing
RN Maternal Newborn Nursing
RN Nursing Care of Children
RN Pharmacology for Nursing
Nursing Leadership and Management
Nutrition for Nursing
So if your school use ATI products, you should be glad. There are also many other companies that offer similar products such as Kaplan, Hesi, etc. If your school does not offer these products to you, you can do a little research to find individualized products that are available. Hopefully, if your school want you to succeed. they will already have a program like this incorporated into the program.
Although, it can be a pain to have to study for these assessments, I find it to be helpful to easily point out my strengths and weaknesses. This allows me to go back and focus on the material that I can improve on. Moreover, it allows me to be better prepared for the NCLEX.
I have recently been having a hard time dealing with stress and anxiety. I think the reason for this is the constant going of nursing school. There is always somewhere to be and something to do. Regardless, this is what I signed for so I have to stay on top of things. If you fail to it is very easy to get behind and even fail out of nursing school. Luckily for me, I have finally been able to get into a flow that works for me. I wanted to share it in hopes that I am able to help someone else.
Get organized!!! You can start by getting a planner. This helps because my syllabi are always at least ten pages long on average I have at least three classes per quarter. Seeing what I have to do on a daily view is better than seeing what I have to do over an entire quarter. I also do not want to carry around several folders each class in order to stay on top of things.
Make sure that you are incorporating ME TIME! People often forget just how important this is. This can be achieved by making sure you are doing things that you love such as, hanging out with friends and treating yourself to something nice. Self-care is a must in nursing school. If you do not take care of yourself, it often develops into stress, anxiety, depression, etc.
Avoid Caffeine! Like majority of Americans, I too enjoy a cup of joe each morning. However, when you have anxiety sometimes coffee can make it worse. What is more, caffeine is know to cause gastrointestinal upset.
Practice Relaxation Techniques! People often underestimate the benefits of this. This can done by meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, etc. One of my favorites is tuning into the relaxation music on YouTube. It helps to put me in a better mood so that I am capable of being more productive.
Tell yourself Self-Affirmations! This is important because if you do not believe in yourself and can motivate yourself, you cannot expect someone else to. For example, you can do this by adding sticky notes to your bathroom mirror. Additionally, when you feel negative thoughts creeping into your mind, you can silence it by speaking something positive to counteract it. For spiritual or religious people, you can download applications to your phone that can send you daily devotionals.
Do NOT Cram! Cramming can create the most anxiety because you are putting unnecessary stress on yourself by not properly planning for an exam. In nursing school, there are usually minimum 6-7 chapters on one exam and these chapters have a wealth of information. When you wait until the last minute, you likely will not remember everything you studied. Also, you will not remember the information long term and that will not do you any good when it is time for the NCLEX. That brings me to my next point.
Shut Your Brain Off! You heard that right. Sometimes you have to learn to quiet your mind. I usually do this when I go into what I call “information overload.” This is basically when I studied for too long and now feel like I cannot retain any more information at the time. I step away from the material and go relax. Once I feel that I can handle looking at the information again, I go back to it. This can also be done the night before the exam. Instead of cramming more information the night before, just take a step back and do nothing. This will help you sleep better, feel refreshed the day of the exam, and hopefully help you perform better.
Seek Help. Unfortunately, sometimes are mental health can get far beyond our control. It may be some lingering trauma that we have yet to deal with or some genetics that are out of our control. If you feel that you are unable to maintain control of the anxiety, do not be afraid to seek professional help. This can be by way of a Licensed Clinical Profession Counselor, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and Therapist. Their services include but not limited to, therapy sessions (one on one or group) and medications.
Well that is all the tips I have for now. I really hope this can help someone. I am placing a link here for those who may be interested in aromatherapy. It is super useful for relaxation and stress relief.
This tends to be a question that comes up a lot when making the decision to go to nursing school. It is a very valid question and can be viewed from various angles. From my personal experience, it is all person dependent.
Since I knew about my acceptance into the program 6 months in advance, I had time to prepare. Before making a decision, I explored all options. My first thought was to reduce hours to part-time. However, that plan fell through when my employer of five years would not allow it. I figured I could possibly find another job comparable to the one I already had. However, when looking at pay there was a drastic difference. I was then left with no choice but to quit.
This was by far the hardest decision I had to make in life. Despite of, I knew it was the leap of faith I needed to have to put me in a better position. So I saved for 6 months as much as I could before quitting my full-time job. I have not looked back since. I think that this has contributed to my success during my first quarter of nursing school as well (I will do a follow up post in regards to Q1). Below are some factors to consider when making the decision to work while in nursing school.
Factors that contribute to if you should work:
1.) Flexibility of Job- Are they generous on PTO? Will they be understanding that school is priority? Do they allow a temporary leave of absence?
2.) Job Position- Usually jobs that have fancier titles are the ones that requires more work. While, some positions you may have mastered it, which may allow for down time to do other things once work is completed.
3.) Pay- If you are able to make a significant amount money, then you could potentially work less hours. This will allow more time from studying and school work.
Other factors to consider:
1.) Class Load- The number of classes taken, the amount of assignments and/or exams given, the days and hours of clinicals, etc.
2.) Time Management- If you can effectively study within a reasonable amount of time that can potentially free up time for other things not school related. This means totally getting rid of the procrastination habit if applicable.
3.) Prioritize- Understanding that school comes first and everything else is second behind it. Making use of a good planner is also helpful. This will allow to keep a log of task that need to be completed and helps you to stay on top of things. Link on where I got mines is here.
I may not have touch on every single thing. However, I feel that these are some of the most important. After you have evaluated you personal circumstance, then you will be able to determine if working is possible for you.
Although I have yet to experience what it is like to work while in school thus far, I will eventually explore the possibility. Whether you choose to work or not is a personal decision. Although people give their opinions often, only you can decide what will ultimately work for you.
Be sure to check out my YouTube Video on this topic as well.
Being a first quarter nursing student has been quite the journey. As the quarter is coming to an end, I would like to point out four things that have resonated with me.
1.) Textbook are SUPER expensive.
This is somewhat a no brainer but nursing textbook are even more costly than many textbook. Reason being, usually nursing text books are bundled with multiple text. This may be a pocket manual, digital access codes, eBooks, physical text, etc. Most of my professors opted for these text and on average the price range is usually $400 and up.
2.) Classmates can be VERY competitive.
You would think that when you start in a cohort that you will eventually become close with all your peers. However, some of your peers may not feel the same way. Nursing school can get pretty segregated as people tend to cling on to people they identify with. This is not necessary a bad thing, but it can be when people become reluctant to share things like notes, tips, recordings, and study guides. That brings me to my next point.
3.) How IMPORTANT having an ally is.
These will be the people you run to in the time of need. They will be there to help you when you fall short and also support you through school. They will be the ones you lean on when times get tough. Often times, these people will become more like close friends and family. If you notice that you have certain people within the program that you have a bond with, strengthen those relationships. The relationships will prove to be valuable.
4.) CHALLENGING your professor is ok.
Oftentimes, we are reluctant to challenge a professor because we feel that are always correct. The truth of the matter is, they are human and can indeed make mistakes. Do not be afraid if you see something wrong or concerning. This can be something as simple as a weird test question, missing information in a question, vague answer choices, etc. You may find that others too have those same concerns. If no one spoke up, then you are doing yourself a disservice. Professors also respect this because it shows that you are proactive and care about your grade.
This is just a first quarter reflection. I am sure as the program progresses, so will this list. If you have any experience with any of these topic, please drop a comment below.
We all know that Pharmacology can be a tough subject due to all the information that has to be learned. However, with these study tips, you can be well on your way to receiving the A that you deserve. 😎
Tips for effectively study for Pharmacology:
1.) ALWAYS review PowerPoint presentations before class lecture. This will familiarize you with the information before the professor teaches the material.
2.) ACTIVELY LISTEN when in lecture. Usually the professor will hint towards the most important information that is needed for exams.
3.) FIND study partners. Figure out who are the strong students in your program and work with them. This helps you to challenge yourself and strengthen any weak areas that you possess.
4.) MAKE funny mnemonics. This will help you to remember material on exams. You can also research ones that are already out there.
5.) MAKE notecards. This helps with repetition. Also, reduces the need for carrying around heavy textbooks all the time.
6.) USE Quizlets. Sometimes students before you may have already covered materials that you are now studying. They often create Quizlets, which is free information to use. You just have to make sure that the information provided is correct by cross-referencing it withthe resources you have.
7.) MEET with professor about your progress. Professors love when you show you are interested in your education. They often can easily pinpoint out your weaknesses and help you develop a game plan for improvement.
8.) LISTEN to live lectures. If your professor provides this an option, please take advantage. Listen on the way to class, after class, during workouts, etc. You will be surprised at what you can recall from simply listening to live lectures.
9.) WATCH YouTube videos. Believe it or not, there are many educated professionals who want to share their knowledge and expertise and do so on YouTube. Just make sure you are researching these individuals to ensure their credibility.
10.) ATTEND review sessions. Sometimes professors will hold review sessions for students. This is helpful for exam preparations. Do not miss out on these opportunities if they are provided.
11.) TAKE BREAKS! When studying a subject like pharmacology, it is imperative to pace yourself. You do not want to experience a burnout from over studying.
12.) DO NOT CRAM! Craming is only good for short term memory. You want to remember information long term. Remember you need to pass NCLEX!
I have a lecture and lab component class that requires me to need a stethoscope. So being a new nursing student, I decided to go the cheaper route and purchase one from amazon for $15.00 and free prime shipping. Initially, I did not think this was a bad idea considering the fact that I was saving money. However, I soon realized that it was a mistake.😩
First impression, the stethoscope was black and cute. It was very light weight and even included replacement pieces if you lost the original ones. For practice use, I found it to be a little difficult to hear sounds clearly. This can be a problem in practice because you can get false readings. However, I will continue to use the stethoscope for use in lab with my classmates.
Ironically, I was also gifted a beautiful Littmann (classic III). First impression, it was beautiful and pink. It is also light weight and instead of a name tag, my name is engraved. This is awesome because it makes it super difficult for someone to steal it. As far as functionality of it, the sounds are super clear. This stethoscope I would rather use on patients and can be more confident in my readings.
I know for some pricing can be a problem, but you honestly get what you pay for. If you can just stomach to make this purchase, you will have a reliable stethoscope that will last a long time.
These are my honest opinion on both stethoscopes. Below are the links to where both stethoscopes were purchased. Hope this helps!
I know I am not the only one who deals with anxiety from school. With the challenges of balancing work, school, social and family life, it can be difficult to find a perfect balance. Despite of, it is imperative that we find time to do things we enjoy.
For some, that may be going out, traveling, or maybe even partying. For me, I enjoy simple things like working out. A good workout leaves you feeling refreshed and as if you can conquer the world. So during finals week I have been in living in gym, which has helped me tremendously with my anxiety.
So my advice to anyone who experiences anxiety is to simply try a workout. It doesn’t matter what you do or how long you do it. The goal is to simply get that body moving. I promise you will feel better about yourself and your mental clarity will also be better. Moreover, follow it up with feel good fuel. I prefer smoothies, juices, or salads. You ultimately choose what works best for you.
Every Sunday, I can not help but think about how much I dread returning to work on Monday. The weekends are like a breath of fresh air and sadly work is not. Im always contemplating, “Do I really need this job?” I could all be so simple, but life is never really that simple.
Anyways, I gathered a list to attempt to see if the benefits actually outweigh the negatives.
Reasons why people love my working for the federal government
1. Great health insurance
2. Employer match Thrift savings account
4. Grade and step increases
5. Guaranteed cost of living increases
6. Job security
7. Generous vacation time based on time invested
I pointed these out because many always mention these as reasons why they wanted to retire from the federal government. I believe that this mentality alone is what enslaves people. I say this because with every positive that I came up with, I was also able to counteracted it with a negative that over shadows it. I do want to provide a disclaimer that this is my experience with my own agency. There are many other agencies that very well may be different.
Over the years, I have contemplated leaving my job due to its nature. I deal with a lot of difficult individuals on a daily and it can be quite draining. Additionally, I really dislike the changes that are being implemented by government leadership. What is more, some of those once great benefits mentioned above may very well be relinquished.
Reasons why I needed to move on
1. Feeling unfulfilled
2. Militant like culture
3. Brown noser culture
4. Not enough pay
5. Multiple things based of seniority
6. Had to move up in organization
7. Mentally draining work
What do you do when you are no longer happy? When you feel like you have outgrown a position? When you are not valued as an employee? When you feel like you are stagnant? For some, the answer is simple. While others will hesitate based on family needs, age, complacency, false hope, etc. I myself have hesitated too because uncertainty of the next steps. However, I came to the realization that life is too short to be miserable despite some benefits that a job can offer. As for me, my time is coming to an end. I will be releasing myself of the bondage that plague me. My nursing journey will be a fresh start for me and I could not be more excited. My hope is that everyone finds the willpower to do the same.
Often I am asked how I am able to get a Masters in Nursing without a prior nursing degree or licensure. These type of programs are called direct entry nursing practice and also vary from your traditional nursing program. To sum it all up in short, we take some of the same classes that any RN school would have. Those classes are usually at the 300 level. However, since it’s a graduate program, majority of the classes are advanced level courses. Those classes start at the 400 to 500 level. Since there is so much to information to cover in such a short time span (2 years), the program is very rigorous. After completion of the program, we are able to sit for the same state boards and become RNs at the masters level. I hope this helps! Please feel free to ask any other questions below.